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Silicon metal production process Print E-mail
Carbon electrodes play a main role in the production processes in submerged arc furnaces. Carbon electrodes are most largely used for the production of silicon metal. The process consists in the continuous reduction of quartz (SiO2) into silicon by a reducing mixture according to the simplified relation SiO2 + 2C -> Si + 2CO. As components of the mixture, carbon in the form of mineral carbon, petroleum coke, charcoal, wood-chips can be used. The choice and proportions of these materials vary depending on the local availability and cost. The electric current runs through the electrode between the contact plates and the tip of the electrode causing the ignition of the electric arc with its extremely high temperatures (> 2000°C) necessary for the reduction of quartz into silicon. The silicon is then tapped from the bottom of the furnace. Every day, 15 to 50 tons of silicon are produced according to the power applied to the furnace. During the process the tips of the columns submerged in the reaction area are gradually consumed. Each of the three electrode columns is built with 5-6 electrodes.

A medium size submerged arc furnace has a crucible diameter approx. 7 m. It is fed by three carbon electrode columns about 15 m high and weight approx. 20 tones each.
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